Series: Orlona #1
Published by Independently Published on August 31, 2018
Source:Copy provided from author for review
"No one knows for certain why the ground of the mountain moves or why it speaks. What we do know is that where it moves, it speaks and where it speaks, it moves." - Orook, First Engineer of Pegasea
Maria is an American graduate student lured to the planet of Olrona by the naverkoo, a mysterious entity with a nearly limitless power to create and transform life. In what she believes to be a dream, she walks onto an inter-planetary transport ship and is taken to the secluded mountain city of Pegasea on the planet of Olrona.
The highly evolved people of Pegasea struggle to maintain their population despite a dire shortage of Pegasean women. In order to avoid social strife as they face inevitable extinction, they live under a strict set of social rules known as the Pegasean Rules of Order and Etiquette (or "PROEs”), which quickly become the bane of Maria’s existence as she tries to adapt to life in this alien city.
I generally accept like, one review request a year. If that, tbh. Not because I am an ass (but maybe I am an ass, Idk) but because I just am so overloaded and overwhelmed. My point is, I have to really be interested to accept. By the fact that I am telling you this, you can infer that I definitely was intrigued when the author requested a review. It sounded so unique and enjoyable, and I am happy to report that it WAS! I was super invested and legit thought about the story when I wasn’t home and wanted to get back to reading. That to me is a huge win! And sure, there were a few things I had qualms with, but overall I devoured this one. So much so that there’s a big old giveaway (so stay tuned!), but let’s break it down, shall we?
The Things I Loved:
- The story itself was compulsively readable. Like, I was jonesing to get back to it while I was at work and such, I was that into the story. I was desperate to find out all the things about the characters and the world. The author would give us answers, and then a few more questions, which is always my favorite. It feels like the story is literally unfolding and it’s fabulous.
- It’s so very thought provoking! I mean, Maria didn’t exactly plan to be spending her days on another planet. She definitely didn’t sign up to be an alien companion. As such, there are so, so many questions of a morally gray variety. Because we are reading this book through the filter of the human/Earth experience. What does it mean when there is a whole other sentient species involved? Is there really a right or wrong answer? So many things to ponder!
- It’s sci-fi that sci-fi fans will enjoy, but it also isn’t too heavy if sci-fi isn’t really your jam. I loved that the other species were relatable, but also certainly not human. The author did a great job of showcasing that. Not only were all the species different in looks, but in other ways too. Yet, there’s that common thread of being sentient beings that held everyone together.We’re also on a whole new planet, with its own rules and terrain and customs. Even more exciting, I don’t think the part of the story dealing with Earth is over yet, even though nearly the entirety of the story takes place off Earth. That’s all I’ll say for fear of spoilers, but there is just SO much that can be done with this world (worlds?)!
- The characters were really well done, even the secondary ones. Speaking of the differences in species, I was really impressed that I was able to feel a connection to characters who were so unlike myself. The Pegaseans were a much more logic-centric group, and I of course understood Maria’s emotions. But that doesn’t mean that I couldn’t see where they all were coming from! Somehow, even when I was so mad at someone, I still understood their motivations, and that’s the mark of a well-written character for sure.
A Thing to Mention:
- This is not (for me, personally) a bad thing, or a good thing, it’s just… a thing. So Maria is human, as the synopsis has told us. The Pegaseans are not. Maria, as a human, is considered… less than by the Pegaseans. It isn’t because she’s female, the female Pegaseans are highly regarded, and the few human men are treated the same as human women. But it’s worth noting that Orook is essentially in a role of power over Maria, according to Pegasean society. I don’t want to delve into it more than that, because spoilers, but I did feel like it was something to mention, because certainly it might cause someone discomfort, though I found it to be a nonissue in the way it was handled as the book (and relationship) progressed.
The Things I Didn’t:
- A few of the relational dilemmas were resolved a bit too quickly. Or perhaps a better way of putting it, off page. Like- there probably was more to it than we’d see, but that made it seem a little easy? And I don’t mean just the romance, I mean all relationship issues. In fact, that was probably my only “big” issue with the book- I just didn’t want things to be resolved so seemingly quickly or easily. As for the romance, it isn’t really insta-love at all, it’s just that I think we don’t get to see as many of the little things that lead to them catching feelings.
- I do wish there was a bit more backstory about Maria’s life on Earth. And maybe that is coming later in the series, so I hold out hope! In fact, I feel like there is some kind of connection/story there, but I would even take some of the more mundane aspects for now. Just to connect to Maria a bit more, really!
Bottom Line: After finishing the book, I immediately headed to Goodreads to see when I could expect to read the next one. So I feel like that says all you need to know, yeah?
Three people win a Kindle ebook of The Prisoner!! AND three MORE people will win a paperback copy, with huge thanks to author Sara Allyn! (Winners will choose in order they’re chosen!)